New Evidence Raises Questions About Death of Argentine Prosecutor

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Top Story — New evidence uncovered during an investigation into the mysterious death of an Argentine prosecutor who accused President Cristina Fernández of protecting Iranian officials connected to a terror bombing complicates the narrative that he took his own life on Sunday night.

A locksmith consulted by investigators on Wednesday said that one locked entrance to the apartment of Alberto Nisman could be easily opened with a simple hook. Investigators also found a third way to access Nisman’s residence through a passageway connected to a neighboring apartment occupied by a foreign national, who has yet to be identified. That passageway reportedly contained a footprint and fingerprint that investigators said appeared recent.suss

Nisman was found dead of a single gunshot wound to the head late on Sunday by members of his security detail of ten guards. He had been set to testify on the following day regarding his 300-page accusation that Fernández had worked to conceal Iran’s role in the deadly 1994 bombing of a Jewish center in Buenos Aires in exchange for access to oil, a commodity Argentina pays to import.

Kirchner’s administration was quick to characterize Nisman’s death a suicide. His apartment was found locked and there was no evidence another person had been inside. A prosecutor assigned to investigate his death said she could not rule out the possibility that Nisman had been coerced to kill himself. Of the 414 people who spoke to the Ipsos polling company shortly after his death, 70 percent said they thought Nisman was murdered.

The death of Nisman, who was Jewish, came just hours after the son of a suspected perpetrator in the 1994 bombing was himself killed in an air strike by Israeli forces in southern Syria. The Israeli media has widely followed the aftermath of Nisman’s death, with newspaper Haaretz calling it “the latest act in the Iran-Israel saga.”

Prior to Nisman’s death on Sunday, he gave his maid a list of groceries to be purchased on Monday. And a day before that, he told a local journalist, “I may just end up dead from all this.”

Headlines from the Western Hemisphere

North America

  • A drone loaded with illegal methamphetamine crashed into a supermarket parking lot in a Mexican border city, according to officials, indicating a potential trend in the use of drones for illicit smuggling.
  • While the number of border-crossers from Mexico into the U.S. has gone down from an all-time high in 2000, the number of recorded border-crosser deaths has remained steady, pointing to the mounting danger of the journey, according to The Guardian.

Caribbean

  • The beginning of high-level talks between the U.S. and Cuba on Wednesday was marked by differing opinions on immigration policy, with Cuba accusing the U.S. of fueling “brain drain” by encouraging doctors to defect, and the U.S. vowing to maintain its current “wet-foot, dry-foot” policy that grants Cuban immigrants special protection.
  • Fifteen endangered Puerto Rican parrots were reintroduced into the wild on Wednesday as part of a conservation program aiming to repopulate Puerto Rico with its only remaining native parrot.
  • Jamaica’s drug reform bill, which will decriminalize possession of certain quantities of marijuana and establish the potential for a legal medical marijuana industry, was approved by Jamaica’s Cabinet on Wednesday, according to an official.

Central America

  • The director of El Salvador’s civilian police force said law enforcement has the authority to shoot criminals whenever necessary and should do so with “complete confidence,” a statement that comes at a time when death squads targeting suspected criminals are on the rise, along with increased violence towards the country’s police.
  • Guatemala’s former vice president announced on Wednesday that he is withdrawing his name from consideration as the new head of the Organization of American States due to “recent neuro-muscular difficulties.”

Andes

  • Doctors in Peru are testing a portable device that can treat women at risk of cervical cancer before it develops and could help bring treatment services to poor and remote areas.
  • The CEO of the gold mining company Goldex, currently at the center of a $970 million money-laundering scheme that is the biggest in Colombia’s history, was apprehended on a public bus last night after a manhunt, according to officials.
  • Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro on Wednesday rejected calls to devalue the country’s currency, as low oil prices continue to worsen Venezuela’s current recession.

Southern Cone

  • After a 2013 inquiry found no evidence of wrongdoing, Chile will re-investigate the death of famous poet Pablo Neruda, which took place over 40 years ago and continues to illicit speculation that he was poisoned by the military dictatorship.
  • Mourners on Wednesday held a funeral for Brazilian surfer Ricardo dos Santos, who family members say was shot in the back as he walked away from a drunk police officer.
  • A group of Argentine men on Monday attacked several Israeli tourists, accusing them of “invading” the popular tourist region of Patagonia, highlighting what some say is a recent increase of anti-Semitism across Latin America.

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